A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Accident Season is a story of friendship, family, and long-buried secrets. For several years, Cara's family has experienced a surge of injury-inducing accidents every October. The book depicts one particularly dangerous October and how it affects the family and their friends. Many accidents are described, only a few graphically, including bloody injuries, broken bones, glass imbedded in skin, and joints knocked out of their sockets. Teens and adults drink. Teens smoke cigarettes and marijuana and sneak out to parties. Some kissing and making out and a reference to a teen character who's had sex. Swearing is infrequent and includes "s--t" and its variations and "f--k."
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What's the story?
In THE ACCIDENT SEASON, Cara and her family brace themselves every October for the inevitable bumps, bruises, broken bones, and concussions that haunt them year after year. It wasn't always this way, though. The kids can't remember much from before the accident seasons began, but they know serious events in their family's past are hidden and could possibly be the source of this month of danger. The sometimes mystical story follows Cara, her sister Alice, her ex-stepbrother Sam, and her best friend Bea through their friendships, love lives, and school lives. They deal with abusive relationships, forbidden love, and the mystery of a missing schoolmate, all while wondering when the next accident is going to befall them. Their bonds are tested as they dig into their pasts, unearthing disturbing realities and eerie incidents.
Is it any good?
Love, pain, secrets, and maybe even ghosts roil under the surface of this excellent debut coming-of-age novel. Author Moïra Fowley-Doyle incorporates elements of classic Irish ghost tales into her story of Cara's family's dangerous "accident season" each October. In facing danger after danger, the kids and their friend Bea grow and open up to one another in gripping and emotional ways. The story has a mystical, fantastical quality, but the emotional impact is genuine. Fowley-Doyle's writing is lyrical and beautiful. The teen characters are wonderfully drawn individuals who feel like real people and not the teen stereotypes that populate so many YA novels. In much of the book, the reader is confronted with situations that could be the imaginings of kids with active and creative minds or could be the result of something otherworldly, an approach that works to heighten the story's tension.
The first third of the book is slow in gaining traction. Characters keep getting hurt, which is supposed to make the reader feel a looming malevolence over the family, but it doesn't ring true initially. Also, the vague notion of family secrets is mentioned frequently early in the book, but they don't come into play until closer to the end. Merely mentioning the idea of "secrets" doesn't build tension or intrigue. Dropping more hints earlier as to what these secrets are would have made the earlier chapters more compelling.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about secrets. Do you think secrets do more damage the longer you keep them?
How did you like the otherworldly elements in the story? Why do you think books that explore the idea of ghosts and the paranormal are so popular?
Do you journal or use any other means of privately expressing your secret thoughts? If so, does it help you? If not, do you think it would?
- Author: Moira Fowley-Doyle
- Genre: Literary Fiction
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, High School, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
- Publication date: August 18, 2015
- Number of pages: 288
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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